After wrapping up her mall tour, the pop-punker preps for the May 25 release of her new CD

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated May 17, 2004 04:05 PM

While some stars have their sights set on New York’s Madison Square Garden and L.A.’s Staples Center, Avril Lavigne took another tact: She went to 21 shopping malls in the United States and three in her native Canada to introduce songs from her upcoming second CD (due May 25), Under My Skin.

Lavigne’s first CD, 2002’s Let Go, sold 14 million copies worldwide and spawned three hit singles on the Billboard Hot 100: “Complicated” (which reached No. 2), “Sk8er Boi” (No. 10) and “I’m With You” (No. 4).

“We thought it would be cool to put on a free show and give back to fans,” Lavigne, 19, tells Billboard.

“It was more than I expected. The crowds ranged from a few thousand to 10,000. Some were moved outside. It’s been great.”

Accompanied by guitarist Evan Taubenfeld, Lavigne’s mall tour made its way around the country, and her sets included five new numbers and previous hits such as “Sk8er Boi” and “Complicated.”

Lavigne, who initially was labeled the “anti-Britney” when she first hit the airwaves, says her new album reflects her maturing tastes.

“With the new album I’ve changed and grown. I’m a really deep person and in touch with myself and my feelings,” she said. “You can tell I’m older. I think, lyrically, I’ve kind of stepped up a notch.”